Being on the water was cool and rewarding

July 14, 2012

Inshore and offshore fishing remain good. The recent hot spell turned the fish on, and while it may have been hot on land, we found being on the water cool and rewarding.

Flounder fishing in Indian River Inlet, Indian River Bay and Rehoboth Bay has been good. Live spot remain the top producer with minnows, squid and Gulp! following right behind. The bite is hit and miss with good fishing one day then slower the following day or two. Boaters and jetty fishermen are getting in on the action.

Delaware Bay has given up flounder to those who can work the rubble at the reef sites. Boats fishing out of Bowers, Mispillion and Lewes are all finding flounder by drifting with bait or jigging with bucktails. Live peanut bunker have produced flounder from the Ferry Jetty, and minnows have caught keepers at the Cape Henlopen Fishing Pier.

Flounder have been caught in the Lewes and Rehoboth Canal and the Broadkill River. The bite is not consistent, and you have to cull through a lot of shorts to find a keeper.

We had some decent reports from the surf last week. Kingfish and blues are beginning to outnumber the sharks and skates. Small croaker and spot are also in the mix. Bloodworms and cut bait work best.

In the ocean, Reef Site 10 has been hot for big flatfish. Once again, you must work the rubble to cash in on the best bite.

We fished between B and A buoys twice last week and had excellent success on both trips. On Tuesday we had 18 sea bass in the box, and on Friday we had 12 more. We keep catching short flounder, and sooner or later I will figure out how to hook a keeper.

It is pretty easy to catch sea bass. They will attack a top-bottom rig baited with clam, squid or Gulp! The bite is almost continuous, and I have no idea how many shorts we caught to cull out the keepers.

Don’t try fishing with light tackle out there in 80 to 90 feet of water. On Tuesday we were able to hold bottom with eight ounces, but on Friday it took 10, and we still had to drop back line to keep the bait in the strike zone.

Farther offshore, tuna have been caught on the troll and on the chunk. Trolling has produced white and blue marlin as well as dolphin. The east wind we have had all week could bring warm water even closer to the beach.

This good fishing could not have come at a better time, with school out and many families on vacation. Choose your target species and get out on the water, either from a boat or from shore.

Indian River Inlet boat ramp

Last Friday, as I was returning to the ramp at Indian River Marina around 2 p.m., I became involved with the volunteer who is supposed to assist boaters with launching and recovering their craft. Both ramps were empty, and as far I as I could tell no one was waiting to launch or recover their boat. I proceeded to pull into the empty ramp, only to be met by the volunteer, who began screaming at me to get away. When I asked why, his reply was, “Because I said so!”

At this point my usually sweet disposition completely disappeared and was replaced by a screaming maniac. I had two other confrontations with this volunteer on my previous two trips to the ramp and his reply set me off.

Eventually everything was settled by a very helpful park ranger who admitted he was not aware that a boater must go to the courtesy dock, offload a driver, then wait for the truck and trailer to back down the ramp before pulling the boat from the dock to the ramp even when the ramps were empty and no one was in line to load or unload.

Feeling I may not have been the only one who had problems at the ramp, I went on Saltfish to ask if there were other boaters who had experienced difficulties there. According to the response to my posting, mine was not an isolated incident.

On Monday, I began calling the state park office to get someone to tell me what exactly what were the rules for using the boat ramp. I left messages for Pat Cooper on Monday and Tuesday, but my calls were never returned. On Wednesday morning, I spoke with the office and was told that Mike Marsich would get back to be before noon. It is now 1 p.m., and he has not called. I called the office once more and was told Mike was at lunch.

I am afraid I don’t have any information on the rules for using the Indian River Marina boat ramp at this time. Perhaps someone will call before next week, and when I discover the proper procedure I will pass it on to you.

  • Eric Burnley is a Delaware native who has fished and hunted the state from an early age.  Since 1978 he has written countless articles about hunting and fishing in Delaware and elsewhere along the Atlantic Coast.  He has been the regional editor for Salt Water Sportsman, Field and Stream, Outdoor Life and the Fisherman Magazine.  He was the founding editor of the Mid-Atlantic Fisherman magazine.  Eric is the author of three books; Surf Fishing the Atlantic Coast, The Ultimate Guide to Striped Bass Fishing and Fishing Saltwater Baits.  He and his wife Barbara live near Milton, Delaware. Eric can be reached at

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